The Cheyenne (Neb.) County Commission vented its frustration July 6 over an alarming threat posed by a native species in the state’s panhandle. The Scottsbluff Star-Herald reported that Commissioner Philip Sanders told the gathering that prairie dogs had caused almost $3 million in damage to 2,600 acres in the county, and pleaded with representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture: “We have a group here from Lodgepole. Their whole town is being surrounded by prairie dogs, and we heed your help.” The county has contracted with the USDA to handle its animal control problems, but Sanders said the lone wildlife specialist charged with the task has been overwhelmed. “I feel like we’ve let Lodgepole down,” Sanders said. “I don’t want to eradicate [prairie dogs]. ... I get it, but they’re out of control.”

Sign of the times

A statue of Christopher Columbus stands in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood, but if petitioners get their way, it will soon be replaced by a statue of Chef Boyardee. The petition, signed by hundreds, suggests Ettore (Hector) Boiardi, known for his “food and iconic mustache,” would be a much better recipient of Cleveland’s love, reported. “Boiardi and his brothers built a canned food empire from the ground up,” the petition argues, and “during World War II, this company produced canned food for American soldiers 24/7,” earning Chef Boyardee a Gold Star in 1946.

An underwater surprise

Wynn Hall of Exeter, Neb., might have expected to find a few beer cans or old tires at the bottom of his farm pond when he drained it for maintenance July 3, but he discovered something entirely different: an empty, broken ATM. “I thought, who would throw a refrigerator or a stove and put it in the pond?” Hall told KOLN. “I took a picture and zoomed in on it and thought, ‘That looks like an ATM.’ ” When authorities arrived, they had a good idea of the source of the machine, since one had been stolen recently, but the numbers didn’t match up. “This is by far the strangest and I was really shocked to see it,” Hall said.

Flying couch potato

Paragliding instructor Hasan Kaval, 29, in Izmir, Turkey, took couch surfing to a whole new level when he rigged a red leather couch, lamp and TV to a parachute harness and launched himself from a cliff at Babadag Air Sports and Recreation Center. United Press International reported Kaval recorded himself July 2 as he sailed over Oludeniz Beach on the couch, pulling out snacks and drinks, and kicking off his shoes to put on slippers as he settled in to watch cartoons. Kaval landed safely, and he didn’t miss any of his shows.

Have it your way

Don Peters, 44, was arrested without incident July 4, according to Akron, Ohio, police, after forcing his way around the counter at a Subway sandwich shop and making his own sandwich. According to police, Peters was intoxicated when he entered the store demanding a meal and became belligerent, damaging some plexiglass before charging behind the counter. reported officers said they found a bottle of vodka and a block of Subway cheese in Peters’ pockets; he was charged with disorderly conduct, criminal damaging and open container.


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